It was as workmanlike and uneventful as a 45-2 win can be. The Oregon defense missed out on a shutout when Cliff Harris made a mental error fielding a punt inside the five, his momentum carrying him into the end zone. Bryan Bennett looked sharp and confident running the offense, displaying good open field running ability and a willingness to scramble and create.
Bennett grew more comfortable as the game went on zipping strikes to Lavasier Tuinei and David Paulson downfield, Paulson’s a 31-yard touchdown down the seam, a play missing from the Oregon arsenal for most of this season. Bennett passed for 11-20 for 156 yards and two touchdowns while running a nifty 6 times for 69 yards, with no picks, no sacks and no lost fumbles. He was poised and effective, although he did have some teachable moments, a couple of throws off his back foot, underthrowing an De’Anthony Thomas on one deep ball and overthrowing Tuinei on two others.
The Ducks used all their weapons. Kenjon Barner ripped off an 84-yard run on the way to 10 carries for 115 yards. The Baby Rhino, freshman Tra Carson walked in for his first touchdown on a 1-yard run while busting loose for 80 yards on 11 carries. He ran hard inside and shed contact, rambling for 22 yards on one run in the third quarter. In all the Ducks had 371 yards rushing and 527 yards of offense. They were productive early but the last two and a half quarters took on the character of a spring game, uneven and sloppy. Jackson Rice had a good day punting, downing three inside the 20 on the way to a 54-yard average in the mile-high air. Rice is quietly having a brilliant year.
Defensively the Ducks had five sacks, the near shutout, and Michael Clay’s interception for touchdown, a great play where he settled in the hook zone and read the quarterback perfectly, rumbling down the field behind a wall of blockers that brought to mind his 65-yard ramble with a fake punt in last year’s Civil War. Josh “Can Do” Kaddu is emerging as a defensive weapon for Nick Aliotti and Don Pellum. He had two sacks and 13 tackles in the first half alone, a fast, physical unblockable presence all over the field.
The Ducks didn’t have any major observable injuries; Josh Huff limped off the field early but returned.
A perfect script for the Ducks in that they won, used a great number of players and kept the game in check, leaving themselves healthy for WSU with Thomas and James fresh and recovered.